LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A trial was underway Thursday in the case of a man charged with the murder and attempted murder of young women in and around Los Angeles.

Prosecutors say Michael Gargiulo targeted young women in Illinois and the L.A. area, killing two and stabbing one.

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Gargiulo has been called a “serial sexual thrill killer,” allegedly stabbing and butchering his victims.

His first alleged victim, a 17-year-old, was found stabbed to death by her father.

(credit: CBSLA)

Prosecutors say he killed 22-year-old Ashely Ellerin in 2001 at her Hollywood Hills home.

At the time, Ellerin was dating actor Ashton Kutcher who was on his way to pick her up from a party, but she never made it to the door. Kutcher could be called to testify in court.

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Four years later, Gargiulo allegedly killed a young mother, 32-year-old Maria Bruno, who lived in the same El Monte apartment complex as him.

In 2008, Gargiulo moved to Santa Monica where prosecutors say he tried to stab another woman to death.

The woman was a neighbor of Gargiulo and was able to escape and survive.

Gargiulo has reportedly decided to represent himself.

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Once the trial is over, Gargiulo will be sent back to Illinois to face murder charges for his first victim.